KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 — Putrajaya must work to ensure that water concessionaires in its recent deal with the Selangor state government accept the RM9.65 billion offer made to them, Selangor DAP chief Tony Pua said today.
He said the federal government must be prepared to compulsorily acquire the water companies and added that the state government would not issue any more licences for the construction of the Langat 2 water treatment plant if Putrajaya does not keep its end of the bargain.
“The ball is now in (the) federal government’s court to prove its commitment and sincerity to end the Selangor water restructuring impasse,” Pua said in a statement.
“If the federal government fails to cajole these concessionaires into accepting the above offer, then it must exercise all its powers under the Water Services Industry Act, particularly using Clause 114 to compulsorily acquire these water companies, “ he added.
Under the agreement signed last week, Selangor will take over the operations of four private water concessionaires — Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Bhd (Syabas), Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd (PNSB), Konsortium Abbas Sdn Bhd and Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor Holdings Bhd (Splash) — for RM9.65 billion, and will place these under the state-owned Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Sdn Bhd.
The agreement will also lead to the construction of the long-opposed Langat 2 water treatment plant. That portion of the deal is “binding and irrevocable” but the valuation of water assets is still subject to negotiation.
Pua said that many Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders had objected to the agreement, citing a “complete distrust” of the Barisan Nasional (BN) federal government’s ability to keep its promises.
“However, Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim was willing to do so in order to end the impasse which has become a lose-lose situation for the ‘rakyat’. The ball is now in the federal government’s court to deliver their part of the bargain by March 10,” said the DAP lawmaker.
DAP, along with allies PKR and PAS formed the state government under the Pakatan Rakyat alliance after the general elections last year, maintaining control of the state for a second consecutive term.
“If, however, the federal government fails to fulfil their part of the bargain in a timely manner, they can be assured that the Selangor state government via its executive council and the Selangor state assembly, will exercise all its powers enshrined under the laws of Selangor and the Federal Constitution to deny any further licences to be issued or awarded to the relevant federal government entities for the purposes of the Langat 2 project. Without these additional approvals, the Langat 2 project cannot proceed,” Pua added.
PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli alleged yesterday that the hastily signed water deal between Selangor and Putrajaya was not only lopsided and possibly illegal, but also would lead to an inevitable spike in water tariffs statewide.
Khalid has been summoned to explain the water deal to PR de facto chief Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim sometime this week.